Friday, June 27, 2014
The Race to Triple Zero: The Polarization of Hyper Thin Culture
I remember when I was growing up in the 90s there was a plethora of girl bands around, the foremost of which were the Spice Girls. Now, the Spice Girls were an interesting group of young women, and all 5 of them had a different body types. Today, the Spice Girls would be considered fat (except maybe Victoria Beckham). In fact, most of the female pop stars of the 90s would be considered fat today. Even the models of the 90s would be too fat for the runway in 2014. This is interesting considering that since the 90s the world has gotten fatter. Much fatter.
The way we live our lives and the food that we eat is making us unhealthy and making us gain weight. The antibiotics in meat. The High Fructose Corn Syrup in everything. The heavily subsidized junk food industry. All of this cheap, low quality food is being combined with a lifestyle that actively discourages activity. Cities in North America especially are built for driving, and not for walking or biking. Children are kept inside to play with their video games and computers and phones because of parental fears and lack of time and energy.
As a result thin has become even more a symbol of exclusivity and is shown as the (now nearly impossible) ideal for women to achieve. Not only that, but weight has now become a moral issue. Those extra pounds are a sign that you aren't really trying, and that you must be somehow a lazy or otherwise undesirable person. Somehow being fat is considered to be an individual moral wrongdoing and not a symptom of the collective lifestyle encouraged by our society. It's unhealthy they say. And yet when a celebrity or anyone else goes too far trying to achieve the ideal, the media and society acts shocked that a woman accomplished what they were told they were supposed to do since they were children. Be underweight to the point of starvation.
Triple zero sizing is now a thing in stores. Why this size is necessary I am not sure, but the idea that the ideal size for a woman is zero, as in non existent, is disturbing. The ideal is for a woman to take up zero space. To be nothing. To deny herself food and to harm her body and health until she can look at a label that says she is zero.
It's all part of the larger corporate marketing strategy to profit off of the insecurity of women. And they start from when we are children. And when they can't profit off of our insecurities, they will try to sell us self esteem, and shame us for being insecure. "Stop saying sorry!" the shampoo commercial proclaims, while at the same time telling us to buy their shampoo because our hair will be ugly without it. Eat our food, but make sure to feel guilty about it afterward.
The contradictory list of things women are supposed to be is confusing at the best of times and infuriating at the worst. I propose we throw out the list. Be thin. Be fat. Be 0 or 20. But be happy. Eat without guilt. Be healthy. Not "healthy", but actually healthy, inside and out. Love yourself.
* twitter: @poliitcal_toast Tumblr: political toaster